- TO READ: FOLLOW THE STAR: Christmas Stories That Changed My Life by T.D. Jakes
- TO READ: BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: Daily Readings for Advent by Kate Moorehead
[ENS] Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Advent as the period including the four Sundays just before Christmas. Christians view this as a time of purposeful reflection and peacefulness.
However, it can be difficult to practice calmness, and tranquility amid all the pushing, grabbing, and spending associated with the season. That is unless you have Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent! hanging on your wall as a reminder.
The idea for Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent! grew out of a conversation Susan Elliot, director of communications at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., had with communications team members Tom Bethell and Kathleen Stanley in 1996. Stanley expounded on the challenge of keeping up with a booklet of quotes they produced called Advent, Day by Day. They agreed to recruit former associate rector Jay Sidebotham to do an Advent calendar that would be more varied than a booklet, suggesting things to do as well as food for thought. Subsequently, the poster was born and today is being published by Morehouse.
“Jay and I joke about seeing Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent! on every Episcopalian’s refrigerator across the nation – heck, around the world, and not just Episcopalians!” said Elliot. “Advent is rich with possibilities to grow deeper in our faith, and we try to provide a light-hearted, yet deeply serious way to move through each of its days.”
It is a daily reminder that the season is about so much more. Each of the days suggest that you do a good deed, pray, be thoughtful in the holiday rush, write a nice note, or think about the real meaning of Christmas.
According to Elliot, through the years the calendar has been used by as many as 40 churches in addition to one seminary, a monastery bookstore and a bishop. In the 17th century, people were fond of the memento mori, a sometimes morbid reminder that we don¹t live forever.
“We think of this calendar as a memento adventus, a reminder that Christ is coming and we need to be ready...It’s also about letting friendships and connections be fruitful, and it’s about encouraging one another, at every opportunity, to live into the possibilities of this rich and holy time,” said Elliot.
To order Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent! visit http://www.morehousegroup.com/booksmusicItemView.asp?bookID=10747
Note: The following titles are available from the Episcopal Book/Resource Center, 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017; 800-334-7626; http://www.episcopalbookstore.org/.
• To Read: FOLLOW THE STAR: Christmas Stories That Changed My Life by T.D. Jakes (New York, New York: The Berkeley Publishing Group, 2003; 230 pages; $10.)
From the publisher: In Follow the Star, T.D. Jakes illuminates the meaning of the holiday through family stories about finding the Christmas spirit during the worst times of poverty and hardship-and of the need during the best of times to slow down and appreciate fellowship, love, and God. With warmth and wisdom, Bishop Jake makes Christmas past and present come alive-and leads us to embrace fully the magnificent miracle of the birth of Christ.
T.D. Jakes is a pastor, community advocate, humanitarian, author, songwriter, playwright, conference speaker and broadcaster. He pastors what Christianity Today calls “one of America’s fastest growing mega-churches.” Named The Potter’s House, this multiracial, nondenominational church with 59 active internal and outreach ministries has dominated church growth records since 1996. In only five years since relocating the church from West Virginia to Dallas, Texas, The Potter’s House grew from 50 families to more than 28,000 members to date. Bishop Jakes heads two of most widely accessed ministry Internet sites in the world today, http://www.thepotterstouch.org/ and http://www.thepottershouse.org/. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Serita, and their five children.
• To Read: BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: Daily Readings for Advent by Kate Moorehead (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2003; 130 pages; $9.95.)
From the publisher: Moorhead uses the witness of the scriptures, her wealth of experience in long years of ministry, and the wisdom of her own life of prayer to guide us in praying the ambiguity of living faithfully between “here and now” and “there and then.”
Kate Moorehead is an Episcopal priest, wife, and mother of two. She has been an active leader in Gathering the next Generation, a grassroots movement among Generation-X clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Church. She is currently the rector of St. James Church in Wichita, Kansas.